"execution-style" shooting death of Albanian national.
No arrests have been made in the death of Gezin Vukcaj, whose body was discovered slumped in the front seat of a friend's full-size Hummer on Groesbeck Highway near the Imperial Hall banquet center in Clinton Township.
"We've ruled out robbery and it looks like an execution-style slaying," said Detective Lt. Marc Rybinski.
Authorities suspect drugs or retribution may be a motive in the slaying of Vukcaj, a divorced construction painter who was born in Albania.
Clinton Township investigators are consulting with members of the Balkan Organized Crime Task Force, a panel of local, state and federal law enforcers investigating crimes in Michigan that originated in the Balkan area of Eastern Europe.
The township, like several other communities in the tri-county area, has contributed an officer to the task force, which also includes Michigan State Police troopers and FBI agents. The panel has been in existence for about two years.
Police are hoping task force members may be able to generate leads in the unsolved slaying.
Mark Bowling, supervisor of the FBI's regional office in Macomb County, said he could not comment on the task force's involvement with an ongoing investigation.
Vukcaj's body was found about 2:30 a.m. Monday by a passing motorist, but police theorize the shooting occurred between 9:30 and 11:30 p.m. Sunday. The Hummer belonged to a friend of the victim.
The vehicle was parked in front of Tandem Tires next to the banquet hall, where a concert by popular Albanian entertainer Zef Beha was taking place. When the banquet hall's parking lot is filled, the overflow cars often park in front of the tire store.
An autopsy conducted by Macomb County Medical Examiner Dr. Werner Spitz determined the single gunshot to the back of the victim's head was fired from about three feet away, police said.
Police suspect the shooting may have been retribution for a fatal shooting that took place during a concert inside Imperial Hall in 2004.
In that case, Kin Vukcaj - the brother of Gezin Vukcaj - has been named in an arrest warrant charging him with homicide in connection with the shooting of Ardijan Mitaj, a Hamtramck restaurant owner.
Kin Vukcaj is believed to have flown to Bosnia immediately after the shooting and has never been charged in the 2004 slaying.
Police have ruled out robbery as a motive for Gezin Vukcaj, 32, because his cell phone, cash and wallet were not taken, Rybinski said.
"We've also heard some information that a yellow Hummer had possibly been involved in some drug transactions so we have to look at that connection," Rybinski said. "But the Hummer didn't belong to the victim; it was a buddy's vehicle."
Vukcaj's relatives in Macomb County could not be reached for comment on Wednesday. They have been working with the U.S. Embassy in Albania to work out travel arrangements for relatives to come to Michigan to attend funeral services.